Debate with Gary Rubenstein
Last week I received an email from a teacher at Stuyvesant, Gary Rubinstein, who started his teaching career as a TFA corps member and also blogs regularly, generally skeptically about charter schools and our type of reform (he's a big fan of Diane Ravitch – in fact, he's the blogger who provided her with the test score data – later shown to be very incorrect – about Urban Prep that she used to slam it in her NYT op ed). Here's his bio (from www.prufrock.com/bioPopUp/contributorbiography.cfm?ContribID=606):
After graduating from Tufts University in 1991, Gary Rubinstein trained as a teacher with the Teach for America (TFA) program, which recruits recent graduates to teach in rural and inner-city schools throughout the country. During his five years with the program, he taught both middle school and high school students and wrote a monthly TFA newsletter column called "I Didn't Do Nuthin'." During his fourth year, he was named Teacher of the Year at his school.
Rubinstein now lives in New York City with his wife and baby daughter. He teaches at Stuyvesant High School where he teaches ninth and tenth grade math. Rubinstein is also the recipient of the 2005 Math for America Master Teacher Fellowship. His essays and articles about teaching have appeared in national magazines and journals, including Education Week, Teacher Magazine, and Mathematics Teacher. For the past thirteen years, he has presented workshops on classroom management.
In his email, he invited me to debate him on various reform issues. I said I don't have the time to do so formally (for example, on the pages of the Huffington Post), but would be happy to swap emails, time permitting. So, we've been having quite a prolific exchange of emails on a variety of topics over the past few days, which I've actually enjoyed. With his permission, I'm sharing four exchanges.